One of my absolute favorite parts of being a stay at home mom is the amount of time I get to spend eating meals with my children. If I’m being perfectly honest with you here, I usually don’t actually eat with my children. The truth is I’m a coffee for breakfast girl and by the time they wake up, I’ve been up for hours so I sit and chat while they eat and I feed little man, it works perfectly for us. Regardless, I’m present and in the kitchen during mealtimes. And I love the conversations that go down during these special times of the day. We play silly games like “Would you rather”, “What’s your favorite…anything” , “I spy”, and we are now experts at going around the table and putting all kinds of things in alphabetical order, foods, animals, names of friends, you name it. But sometimes we just chat and I cherish that the most because you never know what is going to come up.
The other day a topic came up that does frequently at our home, life in the country. When we first got married, my husband and I bought a home in the country. We genuinely loved it. We put a lot of work into it and so did our friends and family. We had campfires out there, hayrack rides and we talk about it often and fondly with our kids. Our oldest daughter has quite a few memories of it and our youngest daughter (who was just 2 when we moved into town) shares along in them when we chat about our old house. Our oldest remembers going for walks down gravels roads to take our dogs swimming in the creek, our “neighbors” who lived about a mile over riding their horses down and being able to feed them apples. I loved the sound of them coming down the road. And all kinds of antics. One day we came home late and there was a cow standing in the middle of our driveway that wouldn’t budge; it had gotten loose from a farm down the road, we could sit out on our porch and watch fireworks from all the surrounding rural towns, we once had a raccoon that couldn’t get down from the rafters in our building, you know normal country stuff, kids love that. 😉 The interesting part of lunch the other day wasn’t that the normal stories came up it was that I heard a new one. The conversation went a little bit like this:
(M is my oldest, K was only 2 when we moved from our old house)
M: “Mom, remember how we used to play and hide in the pine trees at the old house?”
Me: “Yea, I loved that”
K: “Mom, remember how I was sick on my first birthday at the old house?”
Me: “Yea, that was so sad, your sister had to open your presents you were super sick”
M: “I just loved that old house when the horses would come visit us, didn’t you?”
Me: ” Yes, I did, you both loved to feed them apples, the dogs were so scared of the horses.”
K: ” I loved the old house, remember we could just put on our hunting clothes and walk out on the porch and shoot a big buck?”
Me: ” Hmmmm”
M: Making crazy eyes at me ” What Mom? K, I don’t think we did that”
K: ” Remember when we could just walk right out into the woods from our old house?”
M: ” We didn’t have woods at our old house”
Me: ” We didn’t babe, but we did go to the woods for walks all the time, and if we ever move back out into the country we’ll move to a house where we’ll be able to walk out into the woods.”
And mom saves the day! Ha. Isn’t it funny how she had listened to us all talk about our wonderful memories of the country so many times that she had created some of her own? I know when my daughter is lying and she genuinely wasn’t. She had created this little schema in her mind of what her life in the country had been like. And some of it was true and some of it wasn’t.
I got to thinking about the various goals that my friends and family have ahead of them right now. Some are trying to lose weight, some are facing illnesses and are just trying to get through today, some are an integral part of committees working to plan events with specific goals, some are looking to the future and applying for promotions or beginning new jobs, ending a school year, prepping for the next one. Whatever your goal may be, consider the mental imagery techniques of my 5 year old. She has obviously placed herself on that front porch, in her camo, with her daddy. She can picture the old wooden planks that fit together to create a porch, she has worn her hunting gear before, she knows her daddy and has been to the woods with him, she knows exactly what to do, and she can picture what she would do in order to get a big buck as she’s heard him talk about it in detail with excitement many times before. Clearly, she pays close attention when he speaks. Mental imagery is used to help professional athletes, patients with severe anxiety, pain management, stress reduction and people working towards just about any goal and it works. What if we could all do the same thing to meet the goals we are working towards. What if I stopped what I was doing today just for 5 minutes to pictures myself running the lake route that I’ll be doing this May? Or teaching 2 children at home full time successfully next year? Try to carve out some time today to imagine yourself meeting your goal. Imagine where you will be when you get there, who will be with you? What will your surroundings be? How will you get there? What steps will you have taken in order to get there? What will it feel like, look like, smell like, taste like?
And if it’s a new goal and you aren’t sure what it will look like, do what the 5 year olds do, talk to some people who have been there, and make it up! Maybe one day my little K will be able to walk off her porch into the woods and shoot a big buck, who knows?!